By: Jeff Cater
Developer 10Tons has been in the twin-stick shooter business for quite a long time. Many old-school PC gamers (and newer PS4 players) may recall a fantastic shooter called Crimsonland. With their latest title, Neon Chrome, they fine tune their talents and give us a twin-stick shooter that is quite the romp!
Being a game heavily reliant on accuracy and mobility, you’ll be happy to know that the aiming and fluidity of character movement is absolutely stellar. If you happen to come across a door or wall that cannot be shot to pieces, pressing “X” is generally the solution provided you have the correct key.
Well, the game’s visual style certain fits the title. Unfortunately, the game really isn’t that much of a looker. Neon Chrome is played from a top-down perspective, but the camera is set a little too far away to really see any of the details within the enemies and levels.
Special effects are great though, with each weapon lighting up the environment around it and seemingly hundreds of different hues of light toying with one another. The level design is actually procedural, so as you may come across rooms that have similar layouts, they’ll ultimately be different every time you play, which could be why the visual variety is toned down a bit.
The soundtrack is pretty dang sweet though, having a very ’80s synth-y vibe to it, and it’s fun to listen to throughout. Weapon sound effects are serviceable, but they’ll largely go unnoticed because of the intense pacing of the game.
Far in the future, there’s a mega-corporation called Neon Corp. Their Blade Runner looking headquarters is the Tyrell Corp… I’m sorry, the Neon Corp. It is not the Tyrell Corporation building from Blade Runner. Using the theme of “unrelenting Trust,” the Neon Corp hopes to pave the way to the future, their ideal future. That’s where you come in, because you’ve been flagged by the system as someone who just isn’t trusted enough, and you are to be removed.
Enter the Cryonix facility. Here’s where you stage your revenge against Neon Corp by assuming control of Assets, or elite cloned soldiers bred for action. There are a few different classes you can pick from before you start your mission, such as a Hacker that has a drone follow them around for additional fire power, or a Bulwark-style warrior with a shield that can dampen incoming frontal damage. There’s also a huge variety of guns to pick up and blast Neon Corp with, like laser sub-machine guns and brutal shotguns.
Neon Chrome might get an unfair label as a roguelike, which it isn’t at all; it just borrows a few elements from the genre. Perma-death in Neon Chrome isn’t so permanent. Yes, a character is dead for good, but you literally have a field of clones and you’ll likely never run out, ever.
If you do happen to die, it’s back to the start of the tower. Until you get to a boss and beat them, you’ll have to start back at the bottom. And the bosses are absolutely savage, so it’s very fortunate that you’re able to call in a friend (or three!) for some co-op revenge.
Aside from character and weapon upgrades, you’ll largely be doing the same thing during your stay in the tower: shoot your way to the exit. A few of the different classes often have small side objectives like hacking a certain terminal, but the real variety is heavily dependent on the procedural levels.
While it does get repetitive after a while, Neon Chrome is a fantastic shooter and even more of a blast with a few friends. It’s got a sleek presentation, wonderful controls and fun multiplayer, so consider Neon Chrome a must have for twin-stick shooter fans this year.